Saturday’s Argentina MotoGP Qualifying

Michael Scott | April 8, 2017
MotoGP qualifying was held in challenging conditions Saturday in Argentina.

Photo by Gold & Goose

A second day of surprises in Argentina saw a novel front row for tomorrow’s race, after the weather took a hand. Pole for Marc Marquez preserved his perfect qualifying record at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. But second for Karel Abraham was totally unexpected; while Cal Crutchlow’s third added further variety.

Marquez (Repsol Honda) has been on pole for the past four years at the fast and scenic lakeside circuit, and made no mistakes as drizzle struck in the morning, and kept going through qualifying. “My wet feeling was really, really good. But it will be dry tomorrow, so it will be another story.”

In the dry, he’d been third-fastest, behind Qatar winner Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).

Abraham was “just amazed” by second, but it underlined a strong performance on day one, putting him straight through to Q2 with the big names. Riding a two-year-old Pull & Bear Ducati, the returned Czech rider has hitherto named his goal simply as the top ten. “I still have the same target, but the front row is a great advantage,” he said. Abraham was almost eight tenths down on Marquez.

Crutchlow, just three thousandths slower, was happy with “a different” front row, saying he’d made the most of his package, but better settings could have put him closer to Marquez.

Vinales was sixth, behind second-row leader Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) and second Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.

Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) led row three from Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati); with Bautista (Ducati), top rookie Folger (Yamaha) and Iannone (Suzuki) behind.

The drying Q2 session followed a nail-biting star-studded Q1, where a galaxy of top riders vied for the chance to make up for getting caught by changeable weather, after ending up out of the top ten on day-one poor times.

In tricky damp conditions, factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso was on top before a flurry in the closing stages. First Pedrosa displaced him, then Rossi came from nowhere to go faster still. At the last gasp, Pedrosa got on top again.

Dovizioso was a disconsolate 13th overall; ahead of Zarco and Redding.

Jorge Lorenzo was never a contender in his second Ducati race, finishing 16th.

Australian Jack Miller was furious, after bungled team work denied him another run in the closing stages. He’d been fastest in the first outing, but ended up 17th.

Moto2 was dry by the end, and a hectic finish ended with a first class pole for Miguel Oliveira and for his new-this-year Red Bull KTM. The Portuguese rider kept moving just out of reach, from a strong challenge by Qatar winner Franco Morbidelli and his Marc VDS Kalex team-mate Alex Marquez.

Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Kalex) came through to lead row two from Jesko Raffin (Garage Plus Kalex) and erstwhile leader Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Kalex). Sandro Cortese was the first Suter in seventh; the Dynavolt rider one place ahead of Xavi Vierge, whose Tech 3 Mistral team-mate Remy Gardner was 25th.

Moto3 escaped morning rain, and afternoon qualifying was also dry … until spots started to fall in the last five minutes, foiling universal plans of a last-gasp dash and leaving John McPhee to take a third pole of his career. The Scottish British Talent Team rider, on the podium at Qatar, has returned to Honda from Peugeot, and led four more Hondas in the top six.

Only Nicolo Bulega (SKY VR46 KTM) managing to push through into second to spoil the party – doing so in spite of spots of rain.

Jorge Martin (Gresini Honda) was third; Aron Canet, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Romano Fenati filled row two. Qatar winner Joan Mir (Leopard Honda) led most of free practice, but was caught out by conditions, and qualified 16th. Alberto Arenas came back from a heavy crash to place 19th, top Mahindra.

The Argentine MotoGP race kicks off at 3:00pm Eastern on Sunday and can be watched live on Bein Sports or by subscription at MotoGP.com.

GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA MotoGP Qualifying Nr. 2 Classification 2017

1 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 314.0 1’47.512
2 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 303.6 1’48.275 0.763 / 0.763
3 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 311.7 1’48.278 0.766 / 0.003
4 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 314.4 1’48.908 1.396 / 0.630
5 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 302.8 1’49.008 1.496 / 0.100
6 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 305.6 1’49.218 1.706 / 0.210
7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 309.9 1’49.272 1.760 / 0.054
8 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 307.4 1’49.323 1.811 / 0.051
9 76 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 306.3 1’49.630 2.118 / 0.307
10 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 311.7 1’49.724 2.212 / 0.094
11 94 Jonas FOLGER GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 305.7 1’49.825 2.313 / 0.101
12 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 307.3 1’50.725 3.213 / 0.900
13 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 306.2 1’49.488 0.253 / 0.067
14 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 311.1 1’49.916 0.681 / 0.428
15 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 313.8 1’50.048 0.813 / 0.132
16 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati 310.2 1’50.310 1.075 / 0.262
17 43 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 310.8 1’50.319 1.084 / 0.009
18 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 310.8 1’50.673 1.438 / 0.354
19 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 304.7 1’50.676 1.441 / 0.003
20 53 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 311.9 1’50.910 1.675 / 0.234
21 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 313.1 1’51.058 1.823 / 0.148
22 22 Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 306.3 1’51.199 1.964 / 0.141
23 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 307.8 1’52.340 3.105 / 1.141

Michael Scott | MotoGP Editor Scott has been covering MotoGP since long before it was MotoGP. Remember two-strokes? Scott does. He’s also a best-selling author of biographies on the lives of legendary racers such as Wayne Rainey and Barry Sheene.

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